I recently watched the excellent Storyville documentary K2: The Killer Summit. The film explores the events that led to 11 climbers losing their lives whilst descending the second highest mountain in the world.
Above all else it’s an exploration of the reasons why otherwise sensible people decide to put themselves at enormous risk to achieve their dreams. 1 in 4 attempts to climb K2 end in death.
What struck me most about the story was how small events can have huge consequences when viewed in retrospect.
The circumstances that led to tragedy that day involved bad luck, miscommunication and poor decision making in the euphoria of chasing dreams.
Everything that went wrong however could be traced back to a single factor, the head porter becoming sick the day before the summit attempt.
This caused delays and mistakes in fixing the appropriate ropes, which ultimately led to many of the climbers having to descend in the dark. A task that was made impossible when an avalanche removed any trace of a route back to camp.
Now what you might ask has this got to do with your injury and returning to health and fitness?
Bear with me.
Every event is significant.
In the past 3 months I’ve carried out Discovery Sessions where clients have either forgotten or thought it not relevant to mention the following:
An ankle break 20 years earlier.
Back problems 10 years ago.
Knee surgery 5 years previous.
A stroke 2 years ago.
This is completely normal and to be expected.
Not many people think that a broken bone in their ankle 20 years ago might be a factor in their back pain. Likewise why would a back problem that has seemingly resolved have the potential to cause knee pain?
Whilst an unequivocal link can be difficult to make, it’s clear that the impact of past events can linger in the muscular system and not just at the site of injury.
In a previous post I demonstrated the effect ankle joint restrictions can have on shoulder motion.
It’s not a huge leap to presume that if these weaknesses are not addressed, then the restrictions they cause will also persist. An ankle break 20 years ago could therefore lead to issues at the knee, trunk and even the shoulder.
Every event, be it a crisis on a mountain, or a persistent injury, has a number of contributing factors. Not all of which are evident at first.
In the case of chronic injury, the muscular system will have been impacted by the many events that have gone before it.
Addressing the system as a whole, rather than just the parts that hurt is therefore critical for a long term solution.